Meantime he settled down to make himself comfortable with the Todd sisters. Sadie went off to her work before eight o’clock every morning, and that was before Peter got up; but Jennie stayed at home, and fixed his breakfast, and opened the door for his visitors, and in general played the hostess for him. She was a confirmed invalid; twice a week she went off to a doctor to have something done to her spine, and the balance of the time she was supposed to be resting, but Peter very seldom saw her doing this. She was always addressing circulars, or writing letters for the “cause,” or going off to sell literature and take up collections at meetings. When she was not so employed, she was arguing with somebody—frequently with Peter—trying to make him think as she did.
Poor kid, she was all wrought up over the notions she had got about the wrongs of the working classes. She gave herself no peace about it, day or night, and this, of course, was a bore to Peter, who wanted peace above all things. Over in Europe millions of men were organized in armies, engaged in slaughtering one another. That, of course, was, very terrible, but what was the good of thinking about it? There was no way to stop it, and it certainly wasn’t Peter’s fault. But this poor, deluded child was acting all the time as if she were to blame for this European conflict, and had the job of bringing it to a close. The tears would come into her deep-set grey eyes, and her soft chin would quiver with pain whenever she talked about it; and it seemed to Peter she was talking about it all the time. It was her idea that the war must be stopped by uprisings on the part of the working people in Europe. Apparently she thought this might be hastened if the working people of American City would rise up and set an example!
Jennie talked about this plan quite openly; she would put a red ribbon in her hair, and pin a red badge on her bosom, and go into meeting-places and sell little pamphlets with red covers. So, of course, it would be Peter’s duty to report her to the head of the secret service of the Traction Trust. Peter regretted this, and was ashamed of having to do it; she was a nice little girl, and pretty, too, and a fellow might have had some fun with her if she had not been in such a hysterical state. He would sit and look at her, as she sat bent over her typewriter. She had soft, fluffy hair, the color of twilight, and even white teeth, and a faint flush that came and went in her cheeks—yes, she would not be bad looking at all, if only she would straighten up, and spend a little time on her looks, as other girls did.